Tips on Where to Find Classic Car Parts

If you own and drive a vintage or a classic car, you likely consider it one of your most prized possessions. No matter how much you adore your classic car, it can be frustrating and even physically tiring to repair a vehicle that’s a rare gem. Thankfully, tracking down classic car parts nowadays doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as it once was.

Tips on Where to Find Classic Car Parts 2

Tear-A-Part is just one example of a trusted business that can assist vintage car owners on the lookout for all kinds of vital and rare vehicle parts. This self-service used auto parts retailer offers top-dollar for used cars and boasts a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.

Don`t waste precious time and resources shipping classic car parts to your doorstep when you can dig for buried treasure at your local salvage yard. For those vehicle owners new to the world of vintage car ownership, read on for more information on where to find classic car parts in your area.

Attend auto shows

Immersing yourself in the world of car shows can do wonders for any classic vehicle enthusiast on the lookout for rare parts of all sorts. While the blaring music and limited parking options may act as a deterrent for some potential attendees, your local auto show could be the untapped gold mine you`ve failed to explore.

There is a variety of classic car shows to choose from year-round. For those vintage car owners who`ve never dipped their toes into the waters of auto shows, you`re just a few clicks away from an easily-accessible online calendar detailing the upcoming events in your area.

If you want to learn more about car events on the horizon, performing a quick online search should do the trick. This way, you can pull up a local calendar of upcoming car event dates with ease and ensure you never miss the opportunity to connect with knowledgeable classic car collectors. Whatever your schedule, there`s an auto show for you to attend.

If you`re trying to adhere to a budget, rest easy knowing the average entry fee per vehicle ranges from $10 to $20. As for general admission, expect anywhere from $5 to $9 per person. As if these events couldn`t be more affordable, many past attendees mention affordable snack options in their auto show pros lists.

Should you choose to attend one of these events, you`ll be able to network with fellow classic car owners and interact with vintage car experts who may be able to point you in the right direction of the part you need. Not to mention, you and your loved ones can participate in raffles in hopes of winning incentivizing prizes, i.e. car-washing kits, Bluetooth speakers, car chargers, gift cards, etc. You may also stumble upon vintage car owners hoping to offer guidance to others with similar interests, making it a win-win for all classic car owners in attendance.

How to prepare for your first car show

Are you looking for a one-stop-shop for all things classic cars? Well, look no further. An auto show can appeal to vintage car owners of all experience levels. Whether you`ve purchased a starter classic or identify as a classic car aficionado, there`s a place for you.

If you`ve only recently started dabbling with classic cars, you`ll need to prepare for your first auto show accordingly. By following the steps listed below, your first experience will go off without a hitch. (Warning: Due to COVID-19 regulations, some auto shows may be subject to cancellations or postponements, as the CDC has strictly prohibited large gatherings in select US states. Before making arrangements, verify your state`s rules and regulations and confirm that the auto show is still a go).

Dress for the occasion

Car show attendees should plan on being on their feet for the entirety of the two to three hours the average person spends. With this in mind, wear comfortable shoes that won`t cause annoying aches and pains. As an additional accessory, bring along a camera to snap photos for inspiration or reference.

Take your time

If you`re attending a car show in hopes of finding classic car parts, you won`t want to rush in and out in an hour or less. Slow down your pace and meander around, ensuring you stop at every booth of interest. This strategy will give you ample time to run into a vintage car enthusiast who can offer advice on go-to classic car part locations.

Don`t be afraid to ask questions

As a classic car owner scouting out replacement parts, the primary purpose of attending is to network with fellow classic car enthusiasts. Generally speaking, these auto show staff members possess more classic car knowledge than the average car dealer. Capitalize on this resource by asking staff and product specialists, alike, about the part you`re searching for. With the right line-of-question, these interactions may render useful recommendations.

Prepare for crowds

Understand that auto shows aren`t for the faint of heart. If you suffer from social anxiety when in the presence of large crowds, steer clear of car shows, and opt for other alternatives during classic car part search.

Visit bidding websites

During your classic car parts scavenger hunt, make an effort to visit auction sites. Luckily, the Internet is chock-full of them. On these bidding sites, you`ll encounter a number of people who own rare car parts and don’t even realize it, allowing you to transform one man`s trash into another man`s treasure.

When you comb through auction sites, there`s no way of predicting what gems you might uncover. In some cases, you may manage to find a widely coveted classic car part you`ve had your eye on for years.

Bidding site basics

Before diving headfirst into the auction process, you`ll need to familiarize yourself with some bidding site basics. For those curious about these used cars` origin stories, in most cases, car dealers or insurance companies dump used or damaged cars into auction sites to replenish their inventory. This transition from insurance providers` stockpiles effectively fuels these auction sites and their primary functions.

Note that parts purchased on auction sites often rely on auto salvage dealer intervention. Because auto salvage dealers can readily access a large stock of damaged vehicles, these experts can streamline the bidding process for inexperienced classic car owners looking to purchase particular vintage parts.

Benefits of bidding sites

Bidding sites offer unrivaled convenience for classic car part buyers. Unlike other options mentioned on this list, you won`t have to carve out time in your schedule for travel and a two-hour-long event like you would with an auto show, swap meet, or garage sale. Instead, you can maximize your time by shopping for used car parts from the comfort of your own home.

As an additional benefit, these bidding sites bear an impressive selection with seemingly endless options, reducing the odds of not finding your desired car part during your search. While some classic car parts may assume the lower price implies questionable quality, the parts sold are often well-maintained and continue to meet industry standards.

Finally, the car parts accessible through these online resources are relatively inexpensive. Some customers score savings of up to 30% off the average cost of used car lot parts.

Downsides of bidding sites

Despite these previously mentioned benefits, there are still unavoidable cons to using bidding sites to find classic car parts. For one, some auction sites pose a risk of fraud. While most sites typically enforce pre-screening measures, these criminals still manage to lure vintage car owners into their traps. To avoid being the victim of an online scam, only visit well-reviewed recommended by friends, family, or credible online resources.

Secondly, these auction sites often fail to set up a security net in the form of an online warranty. Should you run into problems and experience a part malfunction, unfortunately, you`ll have to purchase a replacement part out-of-pocket.

Read magazines that specialize in classic vehicles

If you`d like some insight into tracking down rare car parts of all varieties, reading magazines specializing in classic cars can help tremendously. These publications print articles covering a variety of topics, from classic car part hunting to maintenance checklists. If you can’t find these kinds of magazines through your local bookshop or grocery store, never fear. You can easily order them online and have them delivered in a few business days.

Are you in need of recommendations? Hemmings Classic Car, Old Cars Weekly, Auto Round-up, and Collectible Automobile are examples of fan-favorite classic car magazines. In no time, you`ll be able to flip through pages of content designed specifically for classic car enthusiasts of all experience levels.

Yard sales

Yard sales tend to be brimming with seemingly random items. However, as the saying goes, one man`s trash is often another man`s treasure. Classic and vintage vehicle parts are certainly no exception. If you hear about a neighborhood garage sale that’s coming up, be sure to stop by for a few minutes. You may just come across the car part you`ve spent months looking for without any luck.

For a successful garage sale excursion, timing is everything. When scouting for classic car parts that your neighbors are bound to snatch up during the first half of the sale, plan to arrive within the first 30 minutes. Before departing, clear out your trunk to make room for larger car parts that may not fit comfortably in your front seat. Finally, when scouring the premise for classic car parts, inspect these items with a fine-tooth comb to avoid accidentally purchasing a faulty part.

Visit online retailers

Take a look at online retailers that specialize in classic and vintage car parts. In this day in age, the Internet has practically anything you could ever ask for. No longer are the days where you have to wander from store to store, searching for what you need. All it takes is a few clicks, and your desired car part will arrive at your doorstep in just a few days.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the lookout for car parts engineered for classic cars or hunting for the latest cutting-edge technological devices, you should be able to order anything you need online. In the wake of skyrocketing online retailer sales, the Internet has become a hub for reputable auto parts distributors that pride themselves on their expansive selections of classic car parts.

If you want to pick the finest retailers, do yourself a favor and evaluate an auto part supplier`s online ratings. Read as many store reviews as possible to ensure you choose a reputable retailer.

For customer satisfaction guaranteed, you should opt for stores with a vast selection of vintage car parts. You should also give your business to stores staffed by experienced professionals well-versed in the vintage and classic car realm.

Skipping the research portion of the shopping process can leave you to deal with questionable auto part suppliers. As a customer, it can be incredibly frustrating to purchase rare and sometimes costly parts from so-called professionals who don’t seem to know what they’re talking about and are prone to steering you in the wrong direction.

Try to attend swap meets

Swap meets can be lifesavers for classic car owners driving themselves crazy trying to find classic and vintage car parts. If you`re on the hunt for a specific rare car part, taking the time to tour a variety of tents will benefit you in the long-run. After all, you never know where that rare part may be hiding out of sight.

To maximize the time spent at a swap meet, you`ll need to make the necessary preparations for your trip to ensure you find the classic car parts you`re looking for with ease.

Swap meet tips and tricks

  • Bring along reference photos you can hand fellow attendees.
  • Record part numbers to ensure on-the-spot identification
  • Visit an ATM before arriving at the on-site location. (If you happen to spot your desired classic part, you`ll need to pay the vendor in cash. While some part providers accept checks, it`s in your best interest to opt for cash payment).
  • Attend a swap meet with a friend for security purposes
  • Much like you would for an auto show, wear comfortable shoes to avoid aches/pains.
  • Practice saying no firmly and avoid people-pleasing during your swap meet experience.
  • Use quick decision-making skills to streamline the process.
  • Negotiate when appropriate.

Internet message boards

Internet message boards can be an immensely helpful resource for vehicle owners hoping to get their hands on rare classic car parts. If you`ve developed a passion for vintage cars and don`t want to settle for defective or damaged vintage car parts, posting a detailed message on an Internet forum may be the most effective method. Search for credible platforms designed exclusively for vintage vehicle owners.


Don`t call off the search before you`ve tested these methods. In some situations, searching for a classic part can be equally mentally and physically taxing, but the reward waiting at the finish line will make the time and energy spent worthwhile. If you`re struggling to find the part you need, don`t hesitate to reach out to the vintage car enthusiasts in your network.